The musicians in The Frank aren’t just California dreamin’. The band is actually embarking on an extended road trip south of the border.
After spending a dozen years playing in virtually every bar from Banff to Bentley and Blackfalds to Edmonton, the ambitious Red Deer group has set its sights on getting signed by a record label.
“It’s everybody’s dream to hit the big time” — or at least be successful enough to pay somebody else to set up the stage equipment, joked lead guitarist/vocalist Denver Swainson.
The Frank plans to give itself a decent shot at fame by travelling to where the band is most likely to be discovered — Los Angeles, home of record company head offices.
For the last 10 months, the already hard-working rockers have been in hyper-drive, performing every Friday and Saturday night, and tucking all earnings into a savings account to finance a six-month tour of California.
Swainson, along with bassist Joe Miller, rhythm guitarist Sara Page and drummer Will Gilgan, are also getting their U.S. work visas, packing up their recently purchased motorhome, and planning a scouting trip to L.A. this summer.
After lining up some bar gigs there, they are planning to return to California in September to perform there until February. “We want to do the full 24/seven and go there to play and write,” said Page.
The Frank’s big fundraising sendoff will be a two-evening concert of local bands at The Vat in Red Deer.
On Friday, June 26, The Frank will perform with Wool on Wolves and Oldbury. On Saturday, June 27, the band plays with Diesel May and the KlamDaggers. Doors will open at 8 p.m. on both nights and the $5 per person cover will go straight to The Frank’s California bank account.
“We want everybody to come and see us!” said Page, who hopes to fill the place.
She and other members of The Frank praised their fellow musicians on the bill, whom they’ve known for years, for agreeing to donate their performances that weekend to help them chase their dream. “We’ve had a lot of support,” said Miller.
“They’ve been our really good friends,” said Page.
The Frank came onto Red Deer’s music scene in 1997 when the group was formed by long-time school friends.
With influences as diverse as Neil Young, The Tragically Hip, Jimi Hendrix, Hole, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joni Mitchell, the band has become adept at synthesized various musical styles into their own brand of rock ’n’ roll, which shows occasional flashes of country, punk and folk.
“We’re not hard rock, we’re not soft rock — we’re just rock,” said Page. Lately the college student and other band members, who are either trades apprentices or agricultural salespeople by day, have grown discontented with playing music as a sideline.
They much rather play music all the time. “That would be awesome,” said Page.
Miller considers the California trip to be a great adventure and — at the very least — a calculated a kick at the can.
Swainson believes it’s time to take a risk. “We don’t want to say we got together for nothing.”
He joked that California is full of celebrities, so “I can’t wait until we’re booed off the stage by somebody famous.”